A meeting with the PM? That'll be £6,000 : Businessmen offer Aug 17, 2013 10:33:28 GMT
Post by Focus on Aug 17, 2013 10:33:28 GMT
Businessmen are being offered access to David Cameron for £6,000 at the Conservative conference – while ordinary party members are sidelined.
Prime Minister, David Cameron - Would you pay £6000 to meet him?
A brochure for businessmen wanting to meet the PM has revealed that only 38 per cent of the attendees at the last Tory conference were party members.
Grassroots supporters are almost matched by lobbyists and other commercial pass-holders, who make up 36 per cent of the total.
The figures come amid growing concern in Tory ranks that party membership is in freefall. More than 250,000 members voted in the leadership contest that saw Mr Cameron elected in 2005, but membership is now understood to be lower than 100,000.
But instead of wooing ordinary activists, Tory chiefs are seeking to coax more businessmen to Manchester next month by giving them the chance of access to the Prime Minister – even when he is in his bedroom.
For £2,100 a lobbyist can buy the rights to have their ‘message or promotional item placed in each bedroom’ in the main conference hotel, including that of Mr Cameron.
The Conservative prospectus for companies says this will let them ‘reach a selected, high-profile audience of senior Frontbench Spokespersons and Conservative VIPs’.
For £6,000 lobbyists can buy their way into seven ‘invite-only events’ at the conference, including a reception and a breakfast hosted by party chairmen Grant Shapps and Lord Feldman.
That private drinks party is usually attended by Mr Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and other members of the Cabinet.
The £6,000 fee also buys an invitation to various regional receptions, an international bash and networking events involving party members.
The Tories are also offering firms the chance to fork out £18,000 to sponsor the media room at their conference.
Among the Lib Dems, its guide to commercial opportunities offers access to a ‘VIP lounge’ for £9,000 at its conference in Glasgow and for £5,000 a company can sponsor one of ten receptions.
As part of the £6,000 package, lobbyists can have breakfast with party chairmen Grant Shapps (top) and drinks with Chancellor George Osborne (below)
‘Either the Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Leader [Simon Hughes] or Party President [Tim Farron] is expected,’ the document reads.
The Lib Dem pamphlet also reveals that fewer than half of the 7,000 people who attended their autumn conference last year were party members.
Labour has not released figures on the breakdown of its conference, which would reveal a high number of union officials.
Business visitors to Labour’s conference are charged £1,292 for a pass and then offered the chance to dine at the Hilton Hotel in Brighton after Mr Miliband’s conference speech.
Former MP and anti-sleaze campaigner Martin Bell said: ‘I accept that political parties have to offset the costs of their conference somehow. But this is quite simply cash for access and it stinks.’
For heavens sake, the greedy, egotistical b..tards!! - Fx